Previously in my capacity as Children’s Department Manager for the Odyssey Book Shop, I had the opportunity to look over publisher’s catalogues at the new books for each season. I was lucky enough to get my hands on some Fall 2011 catalogues, so decided to revive my seasonal picture book highlights series.
Disclaimer: I have not seen these books with my own eyes. So, these books have been chosen based on my knowledge of the author and/or illustrator’s previous work, the catalogue description, and my own personal taste.
King Hugo’s Huge Ego
by Chris Van Dusen
From a master of visual comedy comes the royally satisfying tale of a head swollen out of proportion and a blowhard brought down to earth.
Hugo is a tiny king with a very large ego. But when he mistreats a villager who also happens to be a sorceress, the spell she casts causes his head to literally swell. The more he boasts, the bigger it gets, until it finally topples the mini monarch right off his castle! Who will cut this royal pain down to size? And, more important, will anyone live happily ever after? Chris Van Dusen’s hilarious story is matched only by his outrageous illustrations. Together, they make for a picture book that is sometimes fairy tale, sometimes cautionary tale, and always laugh-out loud funny.
Naamah and the Ark at Night
by Susan Campbell Bartoletti, illustrated by Holly Meade
As Noah’s wife sings the animals to sleep, an age-old tale is told afresh in a soothing poetic form brought to life with beautiful collage illustrations.
Naamah is the wife of Noah, and her name means “great singer.” For forty days and forty nights, as the ark tosses on storm-wracked seas, Naamah sings. She sings to the animals, two by two. She sings to her husband, her sons, and their wives. She sings, and they all sleep, finally at peace. Acclaimed author Susan Campbell Bartoletti’s rhythmic, lyrical text pairs with Caldecott Honor winner Holly Meade’s luminous collage for a cozy, tender lullaby, and an ode to the power of song.
Chilly Milly Moo
by Fiona Ross
As a quirky cow discovers, when life gives you a penchant for cold, make . . . something delicious! A comical ode to individuality from a new talent.
Milly Moo wants only one thing: to churn out the finest, tastiest, creamiest milk around. But there’s just one problem. She’s always too hot! While all the other cows snicker and bask in the sun, Milly Moo’s milk bucket keeps coming up empty. Nada! Zilch! Just when she’s sure that the farmer will banish her, Milly Moo wakes to a freezing cold morning. It’s her last chance! Will the icy temperature help her make the special milk product she dreams of? With slyly humorous illustrations and a fun final twist, this treat from Fiona Ross will have children begging for second helpings.
The Sniffles for Bear
by Bonny Becker, illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton
The relentlessly cheery Mouse pushes a cold-suffering Bear to new heights of melodrama in a hilarious new adventure starring the unlikely pair.
Bear has a terrible cold. In fact, Bear is quite sure that no one has ever been as sick as he is. So when Mouse comes tap, tap, tapping on his front door eager to make Bear “as good as new” by reading a sunny story, singing a rousing chorus and plinking a twangy tune on her banjo, the pitifully coughing Bear – growing weaker by the minute – is convinced that his tiny friend does not appreciate the gravity of the situation. Can there be any saving Bear from his certain demise? Welcome the world’s most lovable curmudgeon and his endearing, unstoppable sidekick in a wry new comedy sure to have even red-eyed, sniffly-nosed readers rolling with laughter.
Tales from India: Stories of Creation and the Cosmos
by Jamila Gavin, illustrated by Amanda Hall
Discover a world of classic tales from India. Come on a journey with renowned storyteller Jamila Gavin as she writes of great floods, legendary romances, and epic battles between good and evil. This new collection of Hindu tales, including the birth of the gods, tales of creation, and the arrival of humans, is illuminated by Amanda Hall’s exquisite artwork, which reflects the influence of both classical and contemporary Indian art.
Paul Thurlby’s Alphabet
by Paul Thurlby
You know I can’t resist an alphabet book, so obviously I had to include this one on the list.
In his first picture book, graphic artist Paul Thurlby presents a stunning alphabet that helps to make the shape of each letter memorable. From an awesome A to a zippy Z, this is the perfect ABC book for the young and hip.
Around the World
by Matt Phelan
Cheating just a bit here, with a historical graphic novel illustrated in the muted color palate with bursts of light that is so characteristic of Matt Phelan’s work. A Scott O’Dell Award-winning graphic novelist follows three dauntless adventurers on a Jules Verne-inspired challenge: circling the world, solo!
As the nineteenth century wound down, a public inspired by the novel Around the World in Eighty Days clamored for intrepid adventure. The challenge of circumnavigating the globe as no one ever had before–a feat assuring fame if not fortune–attracted the fearless in droves. Three hardy spirits stayed the course: In 1884, former miner Thomas Stevens made the journey on a bicycle, the kind with a big front wheel. In 1889, pioneer reporter Nellie Bly embarked on a global race against time that assumed the heights of spectacle, ushering in the age of the American celebrity. And in 1895, retired sea captain Joshua Slocum quietly set sail on a thirty-six-foot sloop, braving pirates and treacherous seas to become the first person to sail around the world alone. With cinematic pacing and deft, expressive art, acclaimed graphic novelist Matt Phelan weaves a trio of epic journeys into a single bold tale of three visionaries who set their sights on nothing short of the world.